As narrated by Aara :
“I can’t believe that you skipped Everest for this ” , he said happily
His eyes seemed to dance along with the Northern Lights, lighting up every few seconds with a new awe and a new fascination.
“Oh but it was so worth it ” , I smiled, turning around to face him, “the look on your face is priceless…I’d sacrifice my entire bucket list for it”
“Uh uh uh…someone is in an ultra good mood tonight ” , Zoheb teased
“Welllllll I’m standing with my beloved ,watching the Northern lights that he so loves….yes it’s freezing but it’s perfect ” , I cooed, ” and if I didn’t have these big boots on I’d climb onto your shoes right now ”
“And break my toes???” , he chuckled
I hit back with a few gentle shots but he was too quick as always and held both my hands apart, still in his and slowly started entwining his fingers with mine.
“I love you, you know that ” , he whispered, bringing me closer to him
I looked away, startling him slightly. I needed to tell him of course, I held it back for so long just to tell him here anyway.
“What is it? ” , he asked with a puzzled look on his face
“I wanted to come here because…” and I stopped.
I sighed dramatically and fumbled deliberately.
“You’re making me nervous ” , he whispered
“Because I don’t think that I can do this again…atleast not like this, just the two of us ”
“Why…what’s wrong ??”, he said softly
“Because I won’t be able to go anywhere with you alone anymore…or atleast not all the time”
“Aara…angel…what is it? Please, tell me!”, he pleaded
“Can you handle it? ” , I asked with a straight face
He didn’t answer, but the look in his eyes said it all. His eyes were searching mines for an explanation, for something..but I wouldn’t relent – not just yet.
“There’s…..there’s someone else ” , I whispered
Zoheb didn’t let go of my hands but I could feel a surge of heat from his fingers.
“Stop messing around…this is not funny”
“I’m not messing around….I’m not lying and I’ve been wanting to tell you it’s just…I was waiting for the right time”
“Aara no….” , he said, shaking his head
“It’s the truth…”
And his eyes tried to climb into my soul, to figure out what I was saying, to figure out what was going on…
“I’ve only known him for a short while but I love him so much…” , I whispered as a tear fell from my eye, “I can’t live without him…I won’t ”
Zoheb let go of my hands in shock and took a step backwards.
” You’re joking right…This isn’t possible…What about us? What about me?”
“I can’t lose you Zoheb…”
“Aara you are confusing me…my heart is on fire…what is going on???”
“Let me show you his picture and then you’ll see why I’m so smitten with him ”
“I don’t want to see a picture of whoever he is!! Are you crazy? ???” , he mumbled in disbelief
“He’s just so something else…and well I’m not leaving you…he’s just moving in with us” , I demanded stubbornly
“Yes you heard right…I love you and I appreciate everything that you do for me and this time I’m not ASKING you I am TELLING you…I cannot live without him and he will be living with us whether you like it or not! ”
A look of shock turned into a smirk of “you’re messing with me”…
“Aara are we talking about a dog here? ” , Zoheb smirked
“How dare you call him a dog!” , I said cheekily, fighting the strongest urge to laugh
“Do you want a dog? Because something isn’t adding up…This is not you”
I rolled my eyes at him and dug into my large coat pocket.
“There see for yourself ” , I grinned, handing him a brown envelope
And panic washed over Zohebs face again as he realised that I wasn’t lying.
“I don’t want to see it ” , he whispered, shaking his head in denial
“You HAVE to see it” , I insisted
“If you love me you will “…I explained, using the line that always worked
“You see…” , he said as he grabbed the envelope from my hand, “you are joking with me because you just enjoy troubling me”
Of course there was no other guy. I loved my husband and I didn’t want to or need to look at any other man…but he was right about one thing, I did enjoy troubling him!
I could never get over the way his ears turned pink whenever I pulled his leg!
I watched him remove the picture from the envelope and my mind took a picture of the expression on his face when he looked at it…
He rubbed his finger across it and smiled to himself..and finally lifted his moist eyes to meet mine. It was a magical moment captured in the capsules of time….
“How do you know it’s a he?” , he smiled, as he put his free arm around my waist
“Because I want a little you” …and I could feel my cheeks turning red
“And I want a little you ” , he whispered , rubbing his nose against mine
Pulling me gently into his arms, Zoheb began planting sloppy kisses all over my face in excitement. I had never seen him this happy before!
Engulfed in his warm and inviting hug, I felt so peaceful and secure. Inhaling his scent, feeling the scruffiness of his beard against my face. I began to lose myself yet again in a world that existed only in his arms, a world that was mine.
When suddenly, the temperature started dropping…The lights were fading…something was happening…something that I couldn’t explain and it was too quick, too harsh, too rough
I felt his fingers slip out of my hands….I heard the sound of glass falling to the ground…
A fear, a restlessness enveloped my existence…and I began to fall. The ground started to shake beneath me…and broke away into different pieces.
I held onto my stomach…I can’t fall..what about my baby?????
“Zoheb!!!” , I shouted at the top of my voice. …”Zoheb!!!!”
I screamed and cried but my voice seemed to have been muted. I was falling…falling freely, terrified, panic stricken….right down to the bottom of the earth
When I heard Riza’s voice…
“He is no more…..”
What did he mean by he is no more???? What did he mean? ???????
“He passed away Aara….”
He was just with me!!!! I woke up next to him this morning, we prayed together this morning!!!
Stop calling me! I don’t want to talk to anyone! !! Zoheb where are you? ????why are you not answering me!!!!
Darkness. Pitch black darkness.
Why were people reading?
Why can I hear so many people reading in my house?
We’re supposed to be having lunch…its Eid day!! I had so many things to do!
I couldn’t feel my fingers…Zoheb….This time my voice was filled with desperation, an anxiety, a feeling of helplessness…Where are you? ???
“Let’s go ” , Maariah said softly, as she put a burka on for me
Zoheb bought me a beautiful new dress for today, why am I wearing a plain black abaya and a burka? Where is my child? Where is Zoheb? What the hell is going on??????
I was given a chance to inhale as cold water fell onto my face…and I gasped
What is happening?????
I felt my eyes fly open and I looked around…I was at home alright.
Maybe something happened.
I hurried downstairs. My lounge was full of people who looked at me sympathetically. Why?????
I could hear the sound of my own rapid breathing as a commotion of sorts seemed to ensue from outside. Someone was coming inside the house…..
Oh my God! Someone passed away!
How silly I was… a mayyit was taking place in my house and I didn’t know!
I looked at Laeeka, Zainab and Maariah….They were crying so much. Who passed away???? Why won’t anyone say anything!!
“Aarala” ….little Yahya called as he tugged at my abaya and lifted his hands for me to carry him.
I held Yahya close to me as my heart pounded thunderously in my chest…
“Aara bachoo ” , my mother cried as she caught sight of me…” I’m so sorry ”
“Sorry for what mummy???” , I asked as I held her hand with my free hand, my eyes searching her face for something, anything…
But that question wasn’t to be answered by my mother.
For instantaneously, the menfolk entered the lounge…and Immy, Riza, Nemo and Arshad gave their shoulders to a body…
My eyes scanned the crowd behind them…my father, Sahal , Uncle A.K…..Our family men….where are you Zoheb????
Maybe he’s outside. Zoheb was Zoheb and he was probably busy arranging something…I wonder if he ate…
With Yahya in my arms, I began to make my way outside slowly when the sound of my father’s voice made me freeze in my tracks..
“Show her his face….”
And my blood ran cold.
As Sahal removed the piece of white calico to reveal the face of the body infront of us….my heart burst into flames..
For the “face” was none other than that of my beloved….
I froze. I clung onto Yahya more than he clung onto me…
I could feel someone take him from my arms…my eyes were fixed on the sight in front of me. ..and I fell to my knees in disbelief.
“Is this some kind of a joke???”
No one answered. My brother knelt down beside me and took my hand in his.
“Remember what mummy and daddy always told us…remember it…pray Aara…pray…”
Easy for him to say. It wasn’t his wife lying here so how would he know????
They must all go to hell! I yanked my hand away from his and inched towards Zoheb…
“Wake up! ” , I whispered close to Zoheb’s ear…” wake up… you can’t leave me…you said that you would never leave me!”
But he didn’t answer me…
“Wake up Zoheb…” I pleaded softly…”wake up my love…how can you do this to me? Together forever remember? ”
All I could hear was the soft cries of those around me…I heard everything except his voice.
He had truly gone.
Zoheb had left me.
Zoheb had left me.
Zoheb had left me.
All I wanted to do was to kick and scream and punch something in the face but I restrained myself. I don’t even know exactly what I was doing. How did this happen? ?
I blinked my eyes several times to try and snap out of it but every time that I opened my eyes, he was in front of me…still…motionless..
How can this be true??? Just this morning, he was with me!
Tears streamed down my face as the reality of it hit me. And even though I knew that this is a part of life, I couldn’t understand why.
I stroked his face gently…A face I would never see again. I would never see his smile again, I would never have the comfort of his company. I couldn’t follow him to where he was going…even though I wanted to.
This had to be a dream. A nightmare. It had to be. This simply wasn’t possible!
I lowered my face towards his chest…expecting him to startle me. And even though this would be the most terrible joke ever, I wouldn’t get angry. I promise, I wouldn’t say a word.
But nothing. I couldn’t hear his heart beating..He wasn’t breathing.
Something happened to him why did they leave him like this, he needs to go to a hospital! Damn all these people! Friends, my foot!
I stood up, startling everyone and quickly walked into the kitchen . I needed my car keys and I needed it now! I didn’t need anyone else I would take him myself !
“Aara what are you doing? ”
I angrily turned around to face Riza , who had a confused look on his face.
“You know if I ever expected anything from anyone Reez it would be you…my husband is lying there and you want to bury him instead of helping him!”
“Aara he’s gone…” , Riza cried
“Oh stop it…get out of my way ” , I said angrily, trying to get past him
“We went down for sajda A…He never woke up ” , Immy said from behind me, ” Riza was on his left, Nemo was on his right…The first thing that we did was rush him to the hospital…but he had gone in the masjid itself, right there, in sajda Aara ”
It felt like I had been slapped in my face by a bolt of lightening. And I had no words. None at all. And I was floating between the reality that was in my heart and the reality that was in front of my eyes…without control…
I rushed back into the lounge, searching for Hana..and carried her out of my mother’s hands. Stroking my four month old daughters face , I wiped my tears and sat down once again in front of her father.
I don’t know what I was doing. A part of me held on to a shred of hope that something would change.
But deep inside my heart, I knew it. And I didn’t want to accept it.
Even if this moment could just freeze forever, I would stay. I would never move. I would stay like this with him in front of me just to have him there.
“I have so much to tell you…so much to say to you…Hana needs to know you…she needs you more than I do…don’t leave us…” I said in my mind
But he wouldn’t answer. Despite the silent protests from eyes I refused to look at, I kissed his forehead with the deepest remorse.
Farewell my love….
And as his body was lifted off the ground, to be taken away from me…I felt my world caving in from all sides…slowly, as if in slow motion….
And I could see myself once again…
Standing on his shoes on that road, for the first time…
I could see myself, smiling at the bracelet he’d clasped onto my hand…
I could see myself in the middle of that mirror maze…
I could see myself on the shore in the blue dress that he had chosen…
I could see myself taking in the look of sheer happiness on his face when he held Hana in his hands for the first time…
And all of it. Every single one of it, came crashing down like a ton of bricks.
The beginning of the end has started. The final season of LLD. And I know that it hasn’t started off on a happy note…but life is not only coloured with blues and greens is it…
Thank you to everyone who commented on the last post, it meant alot to know that Zoheb, a beautiful, fictional character was loved so much.
A special thank you to Tas, for her lovely comment on behalf of Team Nemo…
Thank you guys…for everything so far